Miss Staten Island was banned from New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade after coming out as bisexual.
Madison L’Insalata turned up for the parade but was forced to watch on from the sidelines, after the head organiser banned pageant winners in the apparent fallout of the 23-year-old’s revelation.
On Saturday night, February 29, L’Insalata was told by Jim Smith, the director of Miss Staten Island Scholarship Pageants, that she wouldn’t be allowed to participate – a decision coming from organiser Larry Cummings, only hours after her sexual orientation emerged publicly.
‘Safety concerns’ were cited as reasons for the ban, but L’Insalata isn’t convinced. ‘It seems that it might have more to do with me coming out as bi and my wearing my rainbow scarf that I have here, and them not being okay with that,’ she told ABC7.
I thought this might be a good time to really make a statement and take a stand, and I wanted to announce that I would be marching in the parade with rainbow colors and showing and coming out and saying that I was bi because I wanted people to see the colors. I wanted there to be discussion and I wanted people to talk, and I wanted to change.
Criticism of Cummings isn’t new: he has repeatedly prohibited the Pride Centre of Staten Island from participating. L’Insalata had marched in the parade before, but when she tried to wave Pride flags, she was told not to.
Former Miss New York Jamie Lynn Homan posted a message of support for L’Insalata on Instagram, writing: ‘So proud of this lady. No one can make you hide who you are. You go, Miss Staten Island.’
L’Insalata told CBS New York:
I was, like, stunned by the whole thing. I wasn’t prepared. He just said we’re worried about her safety, like he’s doing us a favor.
I am proud of Staten Island and I am proud of the title that I have, because I know that myself and all the other girls involved do a lot of really great things for our community. So it’s a shame that this really great community event, we ended up not being allowed to be a part of.
Regardless of the controversy, the pageant winner has no regrets over coming out. ‘They’re removing all discussion by not allowing me to be there. I said what I have to say – I still think that my message got across and that’s most important,’ she said.
Cummings has yet to comment on the parade ban.